Monday, November 9, 2009

Rebuttal to “Why Video-Game Legislation Would be Ineffectual”

Please openly welcome Diego Otero-Caldwell in his debut in the blogosphere. Diego is a close friend of mine who wrote a rebuttal to my previous blog post on why video-game legislation would be ineffective, published here as a reblog. Diego is a fan of Modern Warfare and Half-Life and has reached Round Eight of Nazi Zombies, a very impressive feat.
I was playing Call of Duty: World at War with my cousins last summer, and my character had just gotten killed by my cousin’s character’s trench gun. As I was watching the killcam replay my entire left arm getting blown off, I looked to my right and noticed that the cousin who was responsible for killing my character was only about eight years old, and there were even younger cousins standing behind me watching our game. Suddenly I started to worry about my little cousins, and by the end of the night I was thinking about all the small children in this same situation.
What does violence like that do to a kid? It is well established that young children (by young I mean between ages 6-10: the effect of games on teenagers is an entirely different matter that I will not bother getting into) have a natural tendency to absorb and imitate almost everything they see. Considering this bit of common knowledge, it seems obvious that exposure to intensely violent and disturbing games such as GTA IV, Dead Space, and Call of Duty: World at War is terrible for a developing child’s behavior and psychological state.
Still, many young kids in America are playing these games, and so far the government has made no laws to stop it. Measures exist to protect children, but the are not enough. Some private organizations (namely the ESRB) do rate games to suggest what is safe for children to play. Some stores such as GameStop that will not sell “Mature”-rated games to children, but methods such as these are far from enough. Many vendors such as Best Buy will sell any game to anyone, and many parents see no problem in buying an inappropriate game from GameStop and giving it to their children. The United States needs a better system of game censorship, and it is the government’s duty to provide us with such a system.
Doubts exist about the effectiveness of legal regulations on inappropriate game sales. As SHHS junior Marco Garcia stated, “it doesn’t matter what’s illegal or legal, people will always be getting things they’re not supposed to.” Although it is true that simply making a law cannot guarantee that something will not happen, possible ineffectiveness is not an excuse for a law to not exist. In 2008, only 12.5% of all burglary cases in the USA were cleared  (meaning someone was declared guilty of the crime), yet burglary still remains illegal. The government does not base its laws on whether or not they are easy to enforce; it bases its laws on what is just and what will protect the people of the country. So for the protection of our country’s children and their healthy development, it should no longer be legal for a eight-year-old to get his or her hands on a M-rated game.


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